flying buttress


noun Architecture.

a segmental arch transmitting an outward and downward thrust to a solid buttress that through its inertia transforms the thrust into a vertical one.

Nearby words

  1. flying boat,
  2. flying bomb,
  3. flying bond,
  4. flying boxcar,
  5. flying bridge,
  6. flying characin,
  7. flying circus,
  8. flying colors,
  9. flying colours,
  10. flying column

Origin of flying buttress

First recorded in 1660–70 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for flying buttress

British Dictionary definitions for flying buttress

flying buttress


a buttress supporting a wall or other structure by an arch or part of an arch that transmits the thrust outwards and downwardsAlso called: arc-boutant
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Culture definitions for flying buttress

flying buttress

An external, arched support for the wall of a church or other building. Flying buttresses were used in many Gothic cathedrals (see also cathedral); they enabled builders to put up very tall but comparatively thin stone walls, so that much of the wall space could be filled with stained-glass windows. The cathedrals of Chartres and Notre Dame de Paris were built with flying buttresses.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.